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Trump Advisers Celebrate his Debate Performance; Biden, Trump Hit Campaign Trial after CNN Debate; Trump Boasts about his Approach to NATO; Presidential Adviser: Biden still Plans to Debate in September; One Italian Newspaper Said Democrats are now in "Severe Panic"; World's Media Reacts to Biden-Trump Showdown. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired June 28, 2024 - 09:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, a view from Washington after eight momentous presidential debates last night, both candidates back

on the trail today, but the Biden camp clearly on the back foot after his performance. It's 9 am in Washington, its 5 pm here in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky

Anderson, welcome to this show "Connect the World".

Well, U.S. Democrats are reacting with alarm and fear today, after what is widely viewed as a disastrous performance by Joe Biden in his historic

debate against Donald Trump. From the very start of the CNN Presidential Debate, Mr. Biden struggled in articulating his thoughts and voicing them



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Child care, elder care, making sure that we continue to support and strengthen our healthcare

system, making sure that we're able to make every single solitary person eligible for what I've been able to do with the -- with the COVID, excuse

me with -- dealing with everything we have to do with -- what -- if we finally beat Medicare, and I'm going to continue to move until we get the

total ban on the total initiative, relative to what we're going to do with more Border Patrol and more asylum officers.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I really don't know what he said at the end of this. And I don't think he

knows what he said either.


ANDERSON: Mr. Biden's campaign says he was suffering through a cold. But that did little to ease concerns of Democrats who woke up this morning

facing real questions about whether the president can defeat Donald Trump in November and if he should even stay in the race. Listen to CNN Political

Contributor, Van Jones, who worked closely with Mr. Biden when he was Vice President in the Obama Administration.


VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: There are a lot of people who are going to want to see him consider taking a different course now. We're

still far from our convention. And there is time for this party to figure out a different way forward, if you will allow us to do that. But that was

not what we needed from Joe Biden. And it's personally painful for a lot of people. It's not just panic, its pain.


ANDERSON: Jeff Zeleny has more on the candidate's performances, and how the president's clearest moments came when he responded to Trump's repeated

falsehoods during the debate.


TRUMP: He is destroying --


TRUMP: -- this place the whole world is blowing up under him.

ZELENY (voice-over): -- confronting the sitting president.

BIDEN: Never heard so much malarkey in my whole life.

ZELENY (voice-over): But Joe Biden setting off the alarm across the Democratic Party after a shaky performance against Donald Trump at the CNN

debate in Atlanta.

TRUMP: Joe, our country is being destroyed as you and I sit up here and waste a lot of time on this debate.

ZELENY (voice-over): In their first face to face encounter in four years, Trump struck a far different tone than he often does at rallies, rarely

raising his voice.

TRUMP: I really don't know what he said at the end of this sentence. I don't think he knows what he said either.

ZELENY (voice-over): One of Biden's cheap goals was to project an air of strength. On that score, he struggled.

BIDEN: Making sure that we're able to make every single solitary person eligible for what I've been able to do with the -- with the COVID -- excuse

me with dealing with everything we have to do with.

ZELENY (voice-over): After a week of debate practice he arrived on stage with a hoarse voice and often looked down or away and on key policy issues

for Democrats like abortion.

BIDEN: And if I'm elected, I'm going to restore Roe V. Wade.

TRUMP: He's willing to as we say, rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month and kill the baby.

BIDEN: That is simply not true. We are not for late term abortion period, period and period.

ZELENY (voice-over): It was Trump who tried catering to the middle.

TRUMP: Like Ronald Reagan, I believe in the exceptions. I believe in the exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. I think it's very

important. Some people don't follow your heart, but you have to get elected also.

ZELENY (voice-over): But Biden did go after Trump on his treatment of veterans.

BIDEN: My son was not a loser. He's not a sucker. You're the sucker. You're the loser.

TRUMP: He made up the suckers and losers, so he should apologize to be right now.

BIDEN: Four Star General -- aside was on your staff who said you said it, period. That's number one. And number two, the idea -- the idea that I have

to apologize to you for anything along the line. We've done more for veterans than any president has in American history.

ZELENY (voice-over): And on Trump's recent felony convictions in New York.

BIDEN: The only person on this stage is a convicted felon is the man on I'm looking at right now.

ZELENY (voice-over): -- causing Trump to fire back.

TRUMP: When he talks about a convicted felon his son is a convicted felon at a very high level.


But he could be a convicted felon as soon as he gets out of office, Joe could be a convicted felon.

BIDEN: The idea that I did anything wrong relative to what you're talking about is outrageous. The crimes that you are still charged with and think

of all the civil penalties you have, how many billions of dollars do you owe and civil penalties for molesting a woman of public for doing a whole

range of things? Of having sex with a porn star on the night while your wife was pregnant? I mean, what are you talking about? You have the morals

on --

TRUMP: I didn't have sex with a porn star number one.

ZELENY (voice-over): And on one of the biggest questions facing voters, the candidate's age.

BIDEN: This guy is three years younger and a lot less competent.

TRUMP: He challenged me to a golf match. He can hit a ball 50 yards. I think I'm in very good shape. I feel that um, is in good shape as I was 25,

30 years ago. Actually, I'm probably a little bit lighter. But I'm in as good a shape as I was years ago. I feel very good. I feel the same.

ZELENY (voice-over): The argument devolved into talks.

BIDEN: I told you before I'm happy to play golf if your carry your own bag.

TRUMP: Let's not act like children.

ZELENY (voice-over): Trump continuing to downplay his role in the January 6 insurrection.

TRUMP: I said peacefully and patriotically, they asked me to go make a speech. I could see what was happening. Everybody was saying they're going

to be there on January 6th, and I said they got to have some National Guard or whatever,

BIDEN: Didn't do a damn thing. And now he says if he loses it again such a Weiner who he is, that it could be a bloodbath.

ZELENY (voice-over): And only answering if he would accept the 2024 election results after being pressed by CNN's Dana Bash, three times.

TRUMP: It's a fair and legal and good election absolutely. I would have much rather accepted these, but the fraud.

BIDEN: But you continue to provoke this lie about somehow there's all this misrepresentation, all this stealing. There is no evidence of that at all.

And I tell you what, I doubt whether you'll accept it because you're such a whiner.

ZELENY (voice-over): Jeff Zeleny CNN, Atlanta.


ANDERSON: Well, we are covering every angle of this political story reverberating around the world. And just a moment we will hit the campaign

trail with CNN's Kayla Tausche and Alayna Treene and in addition to analysis in Washington, I want to get you the international perspective,

the world is reacting to what we saw in Atlanta, Georgia last night.

CNN's Diplomatic Editor NIC Robertson is with us in London, and Mina Al- Oraibi, the Editor-in-Chief at the National here in Abu Dhabi with me to explore what Biden's performance means in terms of U.S. global influence,

and just as importantly, what Donald Trump said and didn't say about global issues, when the debate did actually veer into foreign policy.

I want to start then with Alayna Treene with Donald hump -- Donald Trump who will hold a campaign rally later today. And Kayla is in Raleigh, North

Carolina, where President Biden will hold a campaign event today. Alayna let me start with you. One has to assume that Donald Trump's team are

feeling pretty strong after last night, what have you heard? And what's happening on the campaign trail for him today very specifically?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Right. Well, you're exactly right, Becky. We are in Virginia we're actually just outside his golf club in Sterling,

Virginia. And then later today, he'll be having a rally in Chesapeake just a couple hours away from here.

But look for my conversations with Donald Trump's campaign last night they were elated with his performance and how the overall debate went. And

really I want to point you to a couple of things. One is that they think Donald Trump did what they wanted him to do, which was they wanted to him

to be more reserved.

And I can tell you from covering Donald Trump for several years now he was remarkably more reserved last night on that debate stage than I've seen him

in rallies and political stops on the campaign trail. That was the first part.

They also didn't want him to veer into personal attacks, and were worried he could potentially go rogue but for the most part, he stayed on message.

The other part of this was they actually were nervous about which type of Joe Biden they would see on the debate stage?

They had actually according to my conversations with them they had anticipated that he would be a much stronger debater. Instead, he gave a

more lackluster performance and they really relished watching Democrats on social media and on television and their reaction to Joe Biden's

performance arguing pretty much the same that they thought it was a poor performance by the president.

I do want you to take a listen to what Eric Trump Donald Trump's son told reporters in the spin room last night after the debate. I think it gives

you good insight into how his team and his family are viewing how it went. Take a listen.



ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: I spoke to him about 30 seconds after he got off the stage and probably the first phone call he took and he was

elated. My father should go out there. He should keep going to Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Arizona and Florida and North Carolina and all the swing

states and we as a family are going to work tirelessly.

He does not need to be doing this. He's getting shot at every single day, by every single person. He wants to see this country great. He wants to

save this country. He wants to see our nation succeed. He wants to fix this union. And he wants respect for America again, and I'm proud of him.


TREENE: Now Becky, a key takeaway that I was paying attention to last night is that part of the preparation that Trump's advisors did with the former

president going into last night was this big focus on optics. They almost prioritize the optics and the visuals of how Donald Trump would look his

vibe on stage last night over substance.

We did hear Donald Trump repeatedly lie throughout the debate. He lied about January 6th. He lied about immigration, a whole host of -- host of

other issues that our team has been fact checking. But on the optics front, they think he was very strong.

Now I also just to give you a sense of what his schedule like is today, I told you he's going to be having a rally in Virginia. When I talked to

Trump's campaign advisors, they said that they are feeling very buoyed that they think he is going into this rally today in a great place you can

anticipate him to take a victory lap.

And the importance of this rally and the state is that look Virginia is a state Donald Trump had lost in the past two presidential elections, but his

team has been privately and publicly arguing that they think it is winnable for Trump in November, and they feel that -- they feel more confident in

that goal after the debate last night, Becky

ANDERSON: Let me bring in Kayla, who was in Raleigh. Kayla, you know, if Donald Trump was dreadful on substance, he was certainly an awful lot more

impressive when it came to style and just the way that he performed. That's not my words, that the sort of reflection of what you read, not just in the

U.S. but around the world from those who were watching last night. What's the word in the Biden camp at this point? How do they go forward?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they believe Becky that the way forward is simply to pack up what few wins they have

from the debate stage, push them out on social media hope they resonate with voters and move on.

I'm told by an advisor to President Biden that not only does he not plan to drop out of the race at this point, but he remains committed to a second

debate in September. The Biden campaign argues that there's no basis for him to drop out, and that voters share different views than pundits.

And that they will side more with the substance of the arguments rather than the performance aspects though, as you note, it cannot be denied that

Donald Trump onstage was far more animated than President Biden's performance, which even his aides and advisers acknowledge was lackluster

and was below their own expectations.

Even so President Biden has been course correcting in the immediate wake of the debate. He went to a watch party and visited with supporters. There his

wife, the First Lady was all smiles waving to the crowd. And here was how the president reacted at that watch party right after the debate.


BIDEN: I can't think of one thing he said that was true. I'm not being facetious. But look, we're going to beat this guy. We need to beat this

guy. And I need you in order to beat him. You're the people I'm running for. We're the finest nation in the whole damn world. Let's keep going. See

you at the next one.


TAUSCHE: So that was President Biden at a watch party in Atlanta just following the debate. Then after that he was asked by a supporter at a

local restaurant, whether he had any concerns about his performance, and he again said that his concerns were about the falsehoods that were spread by

Donald Trump.

To be sure that is one of the major frustrations that the Biden campaign is taking away from the debate that President Biden was thrust into a

defensive role when in fact checking, although given Trump's history of his public remarks and his alternative versions of events, perhaps they should

have expected to be in that role.

Now the challenge for the president is what happens today this event in Raleigh, North Carolina, presenting a fresh face to voters presenting those

ideas, that substance where he's really trying to draw the contrast with Donald Trump and perhaps there's going to be an effort to make that

contrast starker and clearer after last night's debate, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have you both thank you. Right still to come, the world's media has pulled no punches in reacting to Thursday night's historic



We look at the headlines to Donald Trump and Joe Biden woke up to this morning. And next with my guest on set, Mina Al-Oraibi, the Editor-in-Chief

of The National, we will discuss what we saw and its impact, that after this.



BIDEN: The only person on this stage is a convicted felon is this man I'm looking at right now.

TRUMP: When he talks about a convicted felon, his son is a convicted felon at a very high level.


ANDERSON: Well reports in the international media to the U.S. presidential debate and that was what you just saw there part of it. Of course that was

Donald Trump. Media reports not making pleasant reading it has to be said for Joe Biden this morning. Words like panic, shock, unwell are being used.

Tabloids in the United Kingdom, for example, lambasted Mr. Biden's performance saying it was a disaster for the President and opinion column

for the National here in the UAE said the debate was, quote, an unprecedented fiasco. U.S. President Joe Biden's re-election candidacy

crashed and burned spectacularly at the debate against former President and convicted felon Donald Trump.

Well, Editor-in-Chief of The National, Mina Al-Oraibi joining me now in the studio. CNN's International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is in London.

Nic, let's just start with you. And the international media is weighing in and what's being said.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You saw the criticism there from the U.K. media essentially saying what's being said in the

United States, but it's all the newspapers here. And I think it's perhaps more shocking, you know, for United States allies because they don't get to

hear as much of President Biden and the Former President Trump as people watching and listening in the United States.

So yes, every newspaper here is really shocked to think about how badly President Biden did and the implications, therefore, for his re-election,

that was mirrored by what we heard in French newspapers and Italian newspapers as well. Also, Greek newspapers suggesting is this time for

President Biden perhaps to move over the harshest criticism but perhaps not surprisingly.

So coming in Russia, where he was absolutely lampooned in state media, one talk show host, there saying that this debate was a show for pensioners

that does kind of ignore the fact that President Putin is of pensionable age as well, but that was the tone that they took and really taking aim at

President Biden and his poor performance there.


We have heard from the Kremlin, the spokesman there said that President Putin didn't stay up and watch the debate last night although one guesses

he might have watched it later today. But the Kremlin said they're not going to weigh in on the internal affairs of the United States. And I think

that's a tone.

You can expect from all leaders around Europe, whatever their newspaper headlines are saying they're not going to weigh in on this internal matter

in the United States, but it reaffirms for all of them the reality that they could very well be dealing with a second Presidency of Donald Trump.

And it looks like through his own words, redux or the first, the worrying thing for all these leaders, of course, is it might be a redux of 2016-

2020. Donald Trump, however, the world has moved on in those four years, and it's much more dangerous, and much less stable. And that's really

underscores their concern.

ANDERSON: Yeah. The reality is that Joe Biden leads the foremost superpower in the world, of course, and for many people watching this debate last

night, that will really be at the forefront of their minds as they consider what they saw, your own newspaper, The National, leading on the following,

Biden-Trump debate marred by falsehoods and incoherent remarks. Your initial reaction to what we saw?

MINA AL-ORAIBI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE NATIONAL: It was painful, it was painful to watch. And you're right. In part, there were the falsehoods not

only from Trump and even President Biden coming out and saying no U.S. soldiers have died on my watch forgetting the Afghanistan 2021 was on his

watch, 13 marines died. And we've had other instances.

So there was a glossing over of certain things, no real policies. And then there was the incoherence of Joe Biden. And as you said, the world is

watching this not only thinking what happens in elections in November, but thinking today, what is happening in the world, be it in Gaza, be it in

Ukraine, and all over the world, you need a strong president.

And now immediately, within 12 minutes of the debate, you started to hear sounds on social media, where people from the Democratic side saying we

need to think about a change. Well, if that means that the sitting president doesn't have the confidence of the people who support him where

does that put the administration today, let alone thinking about what happens in elections.

ANDERSON: And as in -- writing an opinion piece in your paper today, you know, questioning whether Joe Biden shouldn't step away. At this point, you

bring up U.S. foreign policy. I think it's important that we discuss this. Not much substance, it has to be said in foreign policy in the debate last

night. I do want to play what both candidates had to say about the Israel- Hamas war.


BIDEN: Everyone from the United Nations to Security Council, straight through the G7 to the Israelis and Netanyahu himself have endorsed the plan

I put forward, endorsed the plan I put forward, which has three stages to it. The first stage is, treat the hostages for a ceasefire. Second phase is

a ceasefire with additional conditions. The third phase is no end of the war, the only one to watch the word of continuous Hamas.

TRUMP: He said the only one who wants to keep going is a must. Actually Israel is the one and you should let him go and let him finish the job. He

doesn't want to do it. He's become like a Palestinian. But they don't like him because he's a very bad Palestinian. He's a weak one.


ANDERSON: Mina, your response to what we heard?

AL-ORAIBI: I mean, that Biden, yes, did present this plan, and first call that an Israeli plans, and then withdrew and said this was his plan. And

yet the Israeli prime minister has not listened to him. So actually highlighting once again, the weakness of the Current U.S. President and

then to hear Donald Trump coming in and saying, actually, the Israelis want to continue the war, which is the truth.

I mean, you see that from the current government. Despite all the attempts to say that Trump is saying falsehoods, there's also some truth in what he

says. And there is that point, and then for him say, let them finish the job gives you an idea if there is a Trump presidency, what we can look

forward to January onwards.

ANDERSON: Mina, I want to bring up a tweet from Vali Nasr who's a regular guest on the show. And I know that you know Vali Nasr as well. He wrote

after the debate, U.S. will have even less leverage in managing crises in Gaza, Lebanon, and with Iran. A long lame duck administration that the

region thinks will not be back makes for more dangerous and unpredictable times in the months ahead.

And you alluded to this at the beginning of this conversation. We've got five months before the election. We have no idea what's going to happen at

this point between now and the conventions in six weeks' time, let alone what happens between now and November and then beyond. Does that worry you

as much as it worries Vali?

AL-ORAIBI: Absolutely. There have been concerns again about Joe Biden and his abilities currently as President.


We've heard different reports from people who sit in meetings with him if he needs to have noticed so forth. But then sometimes he's absolutely lucid

in there. But the reality is, this administration now has gone into complete election mode, even though there are very, very pressing issues.

And as Vali points out in his tweet, and as we've been covering a national there is a vacuum of American leadership. And so what does that look like?

And it feels like a lame duck presidency now. Now, if Joe Biden decides that he will let somebody else run this place, but that changes the whole

discussion, but the moment that seems like a long shot.

And so if it is going to be Biden running for president, it's almost people will stop listening to what's coming out of Washington, until we see what

happens after the elections, which is worrying at a time when, as you know, here in this region, the U.S. does still have clout.

ANDERSON: Nic. Thank you Mina, I'm kind of speechless, in some ways about where to go with this conversation, because it's so important when you talk

about the fact that there has in this part of the world been a sense, it's been a vacuum of U.S. leadership for so long. This just underscores that

and makes it so much more worrying. Nic, this is what Donald Trump had to say about NATO last night.


TRUMP: Going back to Ukraine for one second. We have an ocean separating us. The European nations together, have spent 100 billion or maybe more

than that less than us. Why doesn't he call them so you got to put up your money like I did with NATO? I got them to put up hundreds of billions of


The Secretary General of NATO said Trump did the most incredible job I've ever seen. They wouldn't have any they were going out of business. We were

spending almost 100 percent of the money was paid by us.


ANDERSON: I mean, there'll be, again, people all over the world watching, listening to what he said calling him out on the falsehoods on the

exaggeration about the way that people have responded to how he was conducting himself with -- be that as it may, as you watch this, and as we

consider that the Ukraine war continues.

And administration's around the world, leaders around the world will be considering very seriously now what a Donald Trump Administration looks

like or might look like going forward. What's your sense, Nic?

ROBERTSON: Look, it's a redux, isn't it? And it's a redux and to a more dangerous period. I said that before. But he is talking again, about trying

to get more money from NATO countries, you don't get money from NATO countries, they commit to spending more of their defense spending.

No one gets there -- no one there isn't a big pot of money. And the United States didn't put 100 percent in or nearly 100 percent, as Donald Trump

said it was like 71 percent. At the time, NATO has increased its spending, but clearly his messages is going to come back and it's going to be more of

the same what he had to say about President Zelenskyy of Ukraine.

We can't keep spending the money this way. He made it sound like Zelenskyy comes and gets whatever he wants. There are a lot of falsehoods in there.

So that, you know what we're going to take away from this is that Donald Trump, if he wins, again, is going to attack NATO the same way he did

before is going to enable Putin potentially.

It's certainly indicated to Putin, that the war would end at the end of the year before he even became president, which indicates to Putin that he can

double down despite the economic woes that Russia faces double down, make all the gains you can this year, and that maybe President Biden by about

President Trump by them, will be making a deal with you, in terms of which we're not clear on.

It's just playing against the interests of NATO. And he's talking about raising tariffs on trade with the European Union. It's against Europe in so

many ways. So that will be coming back. And I would just flip back to what we were saying about the Middle East, when Donald Trump said that Israel

should be allowed to finish.

What did he mean by that? Did he mean finish in Gaza? Or did he mean finish dealing with Hezbollah in the north, because there are concerns there?

Certainly, we know that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been essentially trying to play into the end zone of the of the Biden presidency.

And if the analysis here is correct, that has now begun. That is lame duck now. Then Prime Minister Netanyahu has got this where he wants it and

endorsement. And does that make a war in Lebanon, more likely because of what we heard last night? You know, it's the dangers of opening the

possibilities without looking at the end result of the implications of the statement and that was Donald Trump's initial presidency.


ROBERTSON: And that's why the concerns will be that we're going to see more of it potentially.

ANDERSON: Yeah, and Nic, nope and to your point, nobody's calling him out when he says the Israeli should be allowed to finish the job.


Nobody is calling out either the guy who could be the U.S. President in five months' time or indeed the current president, whose position at this

point is lame. His narrative is lame, to say the least, let alone the fact that he's now looking like a lame duck president. Thank you, Nic. You're

staying with me.

Good to have you, Mina. Thank you. We know it's a big year for elections, not only in the U.S. but across the world and the world is watching what is

happening today in Iran. That is because voters there casting their ballot for a new president. They are choosing a successor to Ebrahim Raisi who

died in a helicopter crash last month.

Three conservatives are vying with a single reformist candidate for the top elected post. With Iran's polls open for another few hours or so the

country's Supreme Leader is urging Iranians to get out and votes while we are on the ground in Tehran. We are joined by CNN's Fred Pleitgen. Fred,

why are these elections so high stakes, remind us?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Becky, there are a lot of people who are of course eligible to vote,

it's more than 61 million people this time around. The second reason is one of the ones that you mentioned is that there is actually a pretty broad

spectrum of candidates that are up for the vote this time.

You'll recall, when we were here on the ground, actually, in the last presidential election, when Ebrahim Raisi was voted into office that the

moderate side really didn't have very much in the way of any sort of viable candidates. Well, that's different this time you have those four candidates

who are still in the race, you mentioned that three of them are conservative.

I would say two of those conservatives can be considered front runners. One of them is of course, Mohammad Ghalibaf, who is currently the speaker of

Iranian parliament, also the Former Mayor of Tehran. And then you have Saeed Jalili, whom we all know very well from our international reporting,

as having been Iran's Former Chief Nuclear Negotiator.

Both Mr. Ghalibaf and Mr. Jalili have said that they want to continue the policies of Ebrahim Raisi and his administration, which of course, meant a

very tough line towards Israel. Of course, now, we know that Israel and Iran have been on the brink of war in the past couple of months, and, of

course, a tough line towards the United States as well.

So that alone could have big repercussions in the greater Middle Eastern region. And then you have Mr. Masoud Pezeshkian, who's called for better

relations with countries here in the region, but in general, for diplomatic offensive, if you will. And we do see that he has been having some momentum

among voters, we have of course been on the ground here.

I can show you where we are right now. You can see people are signing up right now handing in their documents, and then be able to vote. Of course,

as we know, you've been you've seen this process firsthand. So many times, Becky, people handing in their ID cards, then getting the ballot papers and

then going back there to the ballot box to hand that in.

Some of the people that we've been speaking to do believe that the moderates this time have a little more momentum than maybe we have seen in

the last couple of elections, that does seem to be drawing people to come here and vote as well. You can see behind me that here right now, there's a

bit of a line going on. It is still fairly early, though, of course, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, sir. I wonder how many of those who are voting today will have stayed up to watch what was happening in the U.S. overnight

regional time, of course, there will be those on the ground today who will have watched the U.S. presidential vote and what is happening in Iran and

the rest of this region is complicated and fast moving.

And you could argue needs you know, a stable U.S. administration to help out as it well. We've got you covered here on "Connect the World" as well

as on our digital platform. CNN also has in depth analysis. In our "Meanwhile in the Middle East" newsletter, you'll find a deep dive on, for

example, today Iran's election there.

Just scan the barcode on the bottom of your screen to have that delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. Right, we're going to take a

very short break, back after this.



ANDERSON: Welcome back, I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, where the time is 25 just six in the evening. New this hour, an advisor to President Joe

Biden says he still plans to participate in the September debate. That is scheduled and that he is moving on with his campaign. Democrats are in no


There is no doubt. That they are doing some soul searching after last night's presidential debate, which was here on CNN but are they also

searching for a new candidate or Mr. Biden is the presumptive nominee but it is not official yet. And the rumblings may be getting louder. Let's

listen to what our Senior Political Commentator David Axelrod had to say.


DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It was a sense of shock, actually, how he came out at the beginning of this debate, how his voice

sounded about, you know, he seemed a little disoriented, he did get stronger as the debate went on. But by that time, I think the panic had set

in and I think you're going to hear discussions that I don't know, will lead to anything but that you know, there going to be discussion about

whether he should continue.


ANDERSON: Well, here to discuss that, is Larry Sabato, Director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Prominent voices on the

Democrats side on the left of American politics are calling for Joe Biden to step aside, should he?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR POLITICS AT UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: It's pretty widespread, but it won't happen. David Axelrod was

right to add that phrase, I don't know if it'll lead to anything. The first reaction, which went on for hours, was that he should step aside and there

was wild speculation about who could substitute.

It would make some sense for him to do so, except there are no clear procedures for doing so. He has nearly 100 percent of the delegates at the

Democratic National Convention, and they are committed to him on the first ballot, they're committed. So he would have to agree himself, he would have

to step down.

And the only conceivable way that I can see that it might happen is if Former Presidents, Obama and Clinton and Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and

other big shots in the Democratic Party had to come to Jesus meeting in the White House with the both Biden's with the First Lady as well as the

president. There's no indication that will happen. And Joe Biden has worked hard to get into the White House, and I doubt he's going to give it up.

ANDERSON: Yeah. And you bring up Joe Biden there. And you know, I've spoken to a lot of people today who say that, you know, it may be that it is

ultimately up to Joe Biden, if he can be convinced and if that's the right thing for him that it will be Joe Biden, who will be able to affect that

Thomas Friedman, writing in "The New York Times", a man who knows Joe Biden, so well wrote that debate left him in tears.


And Biden, quote, has no business running for re-election. It does seem fair to ask. If he stays in the race at this point, Larry, what's next for

Biden and the Democrats?

SABATO: A period of soul searching and possibly really bad polls, possibly we'll see. Although, you know, I saw the instant poll where Trump

supposedly, quote, 167 percent to 33 percent for Biden. Donald Trump didn't win anything. Joe Biden lost the debate. Donald Trump did what he always

does, Becky, lie, lie, and lie.

He's better at it than anyone I've ever met in politics. And that's saying something. He also has challenges in front of him. But that's another story

for another day for Biden, he's got to try to put the pieces back together or rather, his staff and his campaign have to try to put the pieces back


They will re-emerge in August at the Democratic Convention and mid to little later, August and he's got to come across as a different person. And

if there really is a second debate and that is far from certain if there is a second debate he's got to show instantly that this was an aberration what

happened last night was an aberration. I don't know if it's possible.

ANDERSON: It's good to have you Larry, always a pleasure, sir.

SABATO: Thanks --

ANDERSON: Your insight is important to us. We are back after a quick break folks, stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well this week, "Call to Earth" embarks on an epic mission with South African Explorer, Steve Boyes. As part of what is the Rolex Perpetual

Planet Initiative, he is leading the Great Spine of Africa series of expeditions to scientifically document the continents river basins.

We've been showing his work all weekend today, Steve visits with communities along the Zambezi River which are facing a devastating drought

to explain how his research can help them in the future. Have a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): On the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the largest curtain of water on earth, over a mile wide with a plume of

mist that reaches to the heavens.

STEVE BOYES, PROJECT LEADER AT GREAT SPINE OF AFRICA: It is absolutely powerful, the largest waterfall in the world. It is extraordinary.

Experiencing that power that does make you believe in water spirits and Nyami Nyami, that protects these waters.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Known to the locals as Mosi-oa-Tunya the smoke that thunders. Victoria Falls is a natural wonder of the world. And

one of the greatest displays the power of water anywhere on the planet. "Call to Earth" guest Editor Steve Boyes has returned to Victoria Falls,

where last year he met Fellow Expedition Member George Matomola on the banks of the Zambezi River.

BOYES: I was on that small canoe and I was worried about these rapids. So I came to here to ask you.

GEORGE MATOMOLA, BOAT CAPTAIN AT GREAT SPINE OF AFRICA: Yeah. I saw him paddling, paddling. And I went there after this talking, talking this --

and doing made to the head demons, and they are the community in the village. And they promise to come again to do the research, and teach us

how to use the water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Zambia is in the midst of its worst drought in 20 years. In January 2024, the rains stopped, as the El Nino climate

phenomenon triggered an extended dry spill that is wreaking havoc on the livelihoods of Zambian people. By February, it was declared a national



BOYES: -- fight.


BOYES: Where?


BOYES: -- just switch just take, or they didn't even grow the -- crops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): For miles around field after field of dead crops, and for this community, the loss of a full year's income.

BOYES: It's a crisis. It is their entire economy is falling apart, that no access to food, no access to making money as a farmer or a fisherman. So

now we're going to see an escalation in charcoal production. So young men are going to go out into the remote bush, they're going to cut down old

growth trees, hardwood trees that are devastating to forest habitats.

And Rivers are not just rivers. Rivers are the forests surrounding them. That's what pushes the water in. And without that you get erosion gullies,

you get the rivers filling up with salt, and you could pollution, the whole system falls apart. And people have been forced to do that. Our

understanding from our research of the rivers --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Steve's hope is that the Great Spine of Africa expeditions can help to provide for warning of these kinds of

climatic oscillations in the future.

BOYES: It takes us three to five years to fully understand the nature of -- in a river system and to be able to model them. We will be deploying

hydrological and meteorological rainfall monitoring stations throughout this river basin as we've done in the other river basins. And that allows

us to build robust models that can start to predict these events.

As looking at the border security, understanding these rivers from the sources upstream from these communities is so incredibly important, because

we can help them prepare. But this is a very, very important site. This is one of the natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. And these

communities are the custodians of it. And we need to support that and celebrate them.


ANDERSON: For more from Steve and his team tune in for "Call to Earth", The Great Spine of Africa this weekend on CNN. We are going to take a very

short break and a lot more to come -- stay with us.



TRUMP: Joe, our country is being destroyed as you and I sit up here and waste a lot of time on this debate. This shouldn't be a debate. He is the

worst president. He just said about me because I said it.

BIDEN: The idea that we're talking about worst presidents. I wasn't joking. Look it up. Go online. 159 and 158 don't know the exact number presidential

historians, they have had meetings and they voted who was the worst president in American history -- from the best to worst, they said he was

the worst in all of American history. That's a fact. That's not a perfect conjecture.


ANDERSON: Well, we have been talking this hour about the loosely termed highs and lows from the presidential debate last night. And there you heard

the insults that were traded some of them. And we have been taking a look at international reaction to what happened last night on the stage. In

France Le Monde's newspaper saying Biden was quote, drowning during the clash.

And other publication describing the sitting president is old and worn out. The Italian papers with a similar tone one claiming Democrats are now in

severe panic, another paper saying Donald Trump was energetic but did not score points. We'll bring back Mina Al-Oraibi Editor-in-Chief of The


I think it is really important at this stage, and some might think it's too early to do this, but I think it is. So we're going to do it. We could very

well be looking at Donald Trump Administration -- come November, we could be looking at another Biden Administration come November.

Although if you watch the debate last night, that looks more and more unlikely. Or we could conceivably be looking at Joe Biden stepping away and

-- other Democrat stepping into his shoes and possibly win. What does all that mean, for example, this region, Mina?

AL-ORAIBI: Well, last night's debate was so thin on policy that it's hard to extract from that. And always as we know these elections are so

domestically focused, however, as you said, Donald Trump is known to the region, Joe Biden is known to the region. And there is a sense that another

president chill term for Joe Biden just means more of the same, or basically the U.S. is missing an action.

Now they will argue they're here. They're present. But frankly, and we've seen this since the Gaza war from October and the Hamas attack and October

7th till now. He was really hasn't been able to do much except really support Israel, but not be able to convince Israel of the need to get to a

political move.

And so the question becomes, if it's Joe Biden Administration, how weak the U.S. generally will be, and then you've got Donald Trump, that Donald Trump

that came in the previous elections. It's different from today, because he came in for this region. The people that were known in his administration

were largely the military figures.

You have people like -- and others come in, and so they have those ties. The next Donald Trump Administration will not look like that. And then

third, if there is a new, as you said, contender that comes from the Democrats, that will be a new lease of life for the Democrats. You know, I

keep thinking how is the NATO Summit going to happen in just a few days where people have to go and face Joe Biden, after he has been, you know,

really torn apart by this debate.

And so for this region is thinking about, we don't want a weak U.S. President, but actually, how consequential is the U.S. going to be?

ANDERSON: This is the Middle East from the West's perspective, of course, this is West Asia, from the East's perspective, or as you and I were

discussing in the break, Middle Asia, as far as China is concerned, as we consider what we saw last night, and have to wonder about what happens

next, with regard U.S. politics? Where does China sort of fit in here in this region? What's your sense? And what are your thoughts?

AL-ORAIBI: China and there are many issues with China, but China comes across this stable, predictable people mature, you can do business with

them, you can talk about politics with them. It's really interesting to see what the last few months have been like, they hosted this big Arab summit

are Chinese, African-Chinese Summit.

That is not how the U.S. comes across. So there is this moment where there's been a lot of talk about America's decline globally. And we know

that U.S. elections mean that in the primaries, you get ugliness, and so forth. This is different. This is two contenders for the presidents that

don't look serious and don't look like people you can actually do long term commitments with.

And you know, in this part of the world, people like long term relationships built on trust. And that's what China has been working on.

Not for today, not just yesterday for years. And it's really coming to a head at a time. When the U.S. really looks in disarray and hard to imagine,

where they can build relationships that people can buy into any deal that's cut at the moments with this administration.


ANDERSON: We hear this refrain time and again, don't we, the U.S. has been fighting wars in this region for 20 years not winning the Chinese have

fought no wars and not winning in this region after 20s. I think that goes a little bit far. I mean, you hear a lot of leadership around this region,

wanting to do business with a stronger U.S., wanting the U.S. to be present in this region, supporting this region.

But it feels like you know, that they're struggling to get, you know, to get anybody to pick up the phone, when they call Washington is this again

to seal a phrase?

AL-ORAIBI: Yeah, there, I think that's a really important point to make. But it's not that this region is turning back on the U.S. The U.S. still is

seen as hugely technologically advanced, the U.S. dollar is hugely important and so forth. So I don't think we should belittle the consequence

of America.

Its American politics and particularly Washington that's raising these questions, today and I have to do this because you know, I always bring in

Iraq today marks 20 years since America handed back sovereignty to the Iraqi government. We've seen since 20 years what's happened since that

question of the determined there was sovereignty in Iraq when it comes on and off.

They've been so many questions about Joe Biden's Middle East policy, especially because he was so big on Iraq. And so after 20 years, hopefully

there's enough reflection Washington, the belief as though that the elections are sticking up all the air to really have reflection on where

the U.S. stands in the region.

ANDERSON: -- Well understand why Mina Al-Oraibi is so good at what she does in her job as Editor-in-Chief at The National on why she's so important for

her analysis and insight on this show. "Connect the World" broadcast from our Middle East programming hub here in Abu Dhabi. Thank you.

As Donald Trump pushes forward with his campaign, there's the lingering question of whether he's immune from actions that he took while in office.

The U.S. Supreme Court could weigh in next hour Trump claims he cannot be tried for attempting to overturn the 2020 election results.

Another big case also still pending whether the January the sixth insurrectionists can be charged with obstruction. Decisions may not come

until Monday but they could come today. We will let you know as soon as they come down. Standby, we are taking a very short break, back top of the

hour for you.